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Washington Metro’s Unemployment Rate Improves to 4.0 Percent

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

(Washington, DC) - The District of Columbia Department of Employment Services (DOES) reported today that the preliminary September job estimates show an increase of 14,900 jobs for a total of 2,660,900 jobs in the Washington Metropolitan Division. The private sector decreased by 3,600 jobs, while the public sector gained 18,500 jobs. The Washington Metropolitan Division's not seasonally adjusted September 2016 unemployment rate was 4.0 percent, which is down 0.1 percentage point from the August rate of 4.1 percent. The Washington Metropolitan Division unemployment rate was 4.4 percent in September 2015, but has since decreased by 0.4 percentage points to the current 4.0 percent.

Over-the-Month Area Civilian Labor Force, Employment and Unemployment Data

The total civilian labor force in the Washington Metropolitan Division for September 2016 was 2,613,800, of which 2,509,300 were employed and 104,500 were unemployed.  The unemployment rate was 4.0 percent.  The total civilian labor force in the Suburban Ring of the Communities surrounding the District of Columbia was 2,903,700, of which 2,802,200 were employed and 101,500 were unemployed.  The unemployment rate for this area was 3.5 percent.  In the Washington Metropolitan Statistical Area, which includes the Washington Metropolitan Division and the Bethesda-Gaithersburg-Frederick, Maryland Metropolitan Division, the civilian labor force was 3,293,400, of which 3,166,500 were employed and 126,900 were unemployed.  The unemployment rate for this area was 3.9 percent.  For the month, the unemployment rates for the Washington Metropolitan Division, the Washington Metropolitan Statistical Area, and the Suburban Ring declined by 0.1 percentage point each.

Over-the-Year Area Civilian Labor Force, Employment and Unemployment Data

The Washington Metropolitan Division’s civilian labor force increased over the year by 20,900, while the number of employed increased by 29,900, and the number of unemployed decreased by 8,900. The civilian labor force for the Suburban Ring increased over the year by 22,400, while the number of employed increased by 35,600, and the number of unemployed decreased by 13,200.  Meanwhile, the Washington Metropolitan Statistical Area’s civilian labor force increased by 24,300, while the number of employed increased by 38,400 and the number of unemployed decreased by 14,100.  For the year, the unemployment rates for the Washington Metropolitan Division and the Washington Metropolitan Statistical Area decreased by 0.4 percentage points each, while the unemployment rate for the Suburban Ring decreased by 0.5 percentage points.

Metropolitan Division’s Job Growth

Total wage and salary employment in the Washington Metropolitan Division increased over the month by 14,900 jobs. The private sector decreased by 3,600 jobs, and the public sector increased by 18,500 jobs over the month.  Three private sectors along with the state and local government experienced over-the-month job gains. Job gains were registered in educational and health services, which gained (7,900 jobs); professional and business services gained (600 jobs); and  information gained (400 jobs).  Six private sectors along with the federal government had over-the-month job losses. Job losses were registered in other services, which lost (400 jobs); trade, transportation, and utilities lost (3,700 jobs); manufacturing lost (400 jobs); financial activities lost (800 jobs); leisure and hospitality lost (6,500 jobs); and  mining, logging and construction lost (700 jobs).  Government overall  gained (18,500 jobs) over the month. State government gained (5,800 jobs), while the federal government decreased  by (1,000 jobs), and the local government increased by (13,700 jobs).

During the last 12 months, employment in the Washington Metropolitan Division increased by 67,300 jobs. The private sector added 59,700 jobs, while the public sector gained 7,600 jobs. Professional and business services reported the greatest year-over growth, up 27,200 jobs. Seven other private sector industries, along with the federal, state and local government, posted year-over job gains: Educational and health services gained (10,200 jobs); mining, logging and construction gained (3,600 jobs); other services gained (2,800 jobs); leisure and hospitality gained (7,400 jobs); financial activities gained (200 jobs); trade, transportation and utilities gained (8,500 jobs); and manufacturing gained (300 jobs). Information recorded the greatest year-over downturn, down 500 jobs.

Washington Metropolitan Statistical Area Explanations

Estimated Labor Force and Employment for the Washington-Arlington-Alexandria, DC-VA-MD-WV Metropolitan Division includes: The District of Columbia, Virginia Cities of Alexandria, Fairfax, Falls Church, Fredericksburg, Manassas, Manassas Park and the Virginia Counties of Arlington, Clarke, Fairfax, Fauquier, Loudon, Prince William, Spotsylvania, Stafford, Warren, Rappahannock and Culpeper; the Maryland Counties of Calvert, Charles, and Prince Georges; and the West Virginia County of Jefferson.

The estimates for the Washington-Arlington-Alexandria, DC-VA-MD-WV Metropolitan Statistical Area will be the summation of the estimates for the Washington-Arlington-Alexandria, DC-VA-MD-WV Metropolitan Division (contained in this release) and the Bethesda-Gaithersburg-Frederick, MD Metropolitan Division (to be released by the Maryland Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation).

Data reflects the 2015 annual benchmark revisions.